SEOUL: North Korea on Wednesday fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles into the sea in the latest in a series of launches interspersed with spurned peace overtures to South Korea.
A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said the two missiles were fired from the western province of Hwanghae into the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
“We suspect they were short-range ballistic missiles,” spokesman Um Hoy-Sik told Agence France-Presse, adding that the range was around 500 kilometers (310 miles).
United Nations resolutions bar the North from conducting any ballistic missile tests, and Japan was swift to condemn the launches.
“We have lodged a strong protest against North Korea,” the Japanese government’s top spokesman told a regular press briefing in Tokyo.
The protest was made through diplomatic channels in Beijing.
“These latest missile launches violate past UN Security Council resolutions that ban any launch by North Korea using ballistic missile technology,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga added.
It was the fourth missile test in less than two weeks.
The previous launches had preceded a state trip to South Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping and had been read by some analysts as a show of pique at his decision to visit Seoul before Pyongyang.
China is North Korea’s sole major ally, but while Xi has met four times with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye—including two summits—he has yet to sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
As Xi arrived in Seoul on July 3, Pyongyang announced its intention to continue the tests, despite protests from Seoul and Tokyo.